Thrift Shop Mojo

I am a thrift store junkie. I remember when I was a kid, we didn’t have a lot of money. Every summer, my family spend a week in Auburn, WA at Lake Tapps. Auburn had tons of thrift stores and we’d go each year to pick up clothes for the school year. So, I wasn’t the most fashionable kid in the school, but I learned to love the adventure. That love for thrift stores persists today. I’d say about half my shoes and clothes come from thrift stores – a handful of handbags too! It used to be a necessity for money reasons, but today, I can afford new clothes. But I am used to thrift pricing now. ($100 for jeans?! HA!) And honestly, I just love the challenge and the hunt for a great deal.

Thrifting has become trendy recently. One of my favorite blog sites, Hello Giggles, has a whole series of posts about thrifting. The new CBS show 2 Broke Girls (which I find funny, but all my friends think it sucks) had a hilarious episode where the street-smart broke girl took the former rich-bitch broke girl to the Goodwill. Especially in today’s economy, and with increased sensibilities to ‘green living’, thrifting is a fantastic money-saving, reduce/reuse/recycle option. All it takes is some common sense and a sense of adventure. With a dash of patience. And hand sanitizer.

Look for these

Clothes. This is the easiest category. I only own one pair of jeans that did not come from a thrift store. Most of my dresses (I have a lot!) are from thrift stores. You will need to try things on – especially jeans. I have to try on 15 pairs for every 2 I go home with. But I have some nice jeans – Hilfiger, DKNY – and not a single pair cost more than $9.99. I have found cute tops, great sweaters – never spending more than $15 for any item. Here are some of my faves:
IMG_3579b  IMG_3577IMG_3499b

Continue reading

(Not Extreme) Couponing

Regardless of your opinion of couponing, it is a notable ‘trend’ recently. Yes, coupons have been around forever, but with the TLC show ‘Extreme Couponing’, there is a lot more attention on it. From local church seminars on couponing to mom blog tutorials to CBS’s show 2 Broke Girls, couponing is more present than ever.

While I can’t imagine anyone being opposed to saving money, some folks are going to the extreme. Have you actually seen ‘Extreme Couponing’? I’ve seen a couple episodes and am equal parts impressed and appalled. These people have figured out how to get hundreds of dollars worth of groceries and supplies for tens of dollars. Sometimes free! Impressive. But they’re buying things they don’t need. I saw an episode where a guy had converted his entire garage into aisles of shelving for hundreds of bottles of shampoo, tubes of toothpaste, and dozens of other items he will never use. The episode did show him donating a few hundred packages of diapers or something that he managed to get for next to free – which is fantastic. But, for the most part, he was essentially hoarding. He had a collection of things he’ll never use. Honestly, I find it a bit disgusting.

With all that said, coupons have their place, and I do use them. The trick is to use coupons for things you actually use. Every week, most of us get a flyer with coupons in the mail. Occasionally, you’ll get a booklet from a local drug store, the monthly Val-Pak envelope of coupons, or grocery coupons.

Here are a few tips on how to use coupons effectively, without them taking over your life (or your garage!)

Continue reading